Quinn says Brexit is unlikely to hamper growth
Brexit is unlikely to halt growth at cement and packaging maker Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), chief executive, Liam McCaffrey, says.
The manufacturer once controlled by Seán Quinn grew pre-tax profits by 59 per cent last year to €10.8 million as sales increased in Ireland and Britain.
Speaking after the company published its results, Mr McCaffrey said that business so far this year indicated it would be stronger than 2017.
Quinn exports cement to Britain but its chief executive does not expect the UK’s planned departure from the EU to hinder growth too much.
“The most damage would come from a prolonged recession in the UK as a result of Brexit, but I think that’s unlikely,” he said.
Mr McCaffrey pointed out Britain has a housing shortage but does not produce enough construction materials to build the new homes its needs, so it must import them.
He also noted that even in a “worst-case” scenario, the tariffs that would apply to building products such as cement would be low.
Ballyconnell, Co Cavan-based Quinn is also seeing evidence that new home building is picking up in the Republic.
Mr McCaffrey said that one market for the company, smaller, regional developers building five to 10 homes, were reappearing and could raise finance. “I think that Ireland will be strong for us for a few years to come,” he added.
Sales rose 7.4 per cent to €209 million. the results were the third since businessmen John McCartin, John Bosco O’Hagan and Ernie Fisher bought QIH in 2014, with backing from US investors, Brigade Capital, Contrarian Capital and Silver Point Capital.
Mr Quinn, the founder of the Quinn cement-to-insurance empire, which imploded after his family lost billions of euro in a failed bet on Anglo Irish Bank shares, left the company in May 2016, a year after he was hired as a consultant.
Investment fell to €7.6 million in 2017 from €11.5 million the previous year. QIH is spending €3 million on 33 new trucks this year. The group employs 800 people across Ireland.